Tag Archives: BMO

Harper admits he must act on the economy – The Fundemental Flip Flop…


BRIAN LAGHI , HEATHER SCOFFIELD and STEVE CHASE AND TARA PERKINS
Globe and Mail Update
October 9, 2008 at 10:48 PM EDT

OTTAWA, RICHMOND, B.C. and TORONTO — The federal government is moving to backstop the Canadian banks’ capacity to lend money in an acknowledgment that not even the country’s sturdy banking system is immune to the global financial crisis.

A plan originally earmarked for Friday morning would see the government assume some mortgages currently held by the banks by giving them to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp., a Crown corporation. In turn, the banks might receive CMHC paper – possibly bonds – against which they could use as collateral for their own loans from other banks.

In recent weeks, the big banks have faced a sharp rise in the cost of borrowing money in international markets to cover Canadian mortgages – a situation that puts them at risk of losing ever-increasing amounts of money on one of their core businesses.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the banks say no bailout is on the table and the plan falls short of an intervention, but sources told The Globe and Mail Ottawa now recognizes the fast-changing economic landscape requires action to help the banks access cheaper funds to fuel lending.

With the double whammy of the last days of an election combining with the global economic slowdown, the federal government and senior bank executives are hypersensitive. The Conservative Party has been insisting throughout the election campaign that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. But in the past 24 hours a new reality has set in.

Mr. Flaherty, who is expected to be in Washington Friday at an emergency G7 session of finance ministers, had been preparing to make the announcement of a banking plan Thursday, but after word leaked Wednesday night, the plans were delayed, sources say, in an illustration of how important it is for the government to try to control the message.

Pressure from the banks is growing, with executives arguing their sector needs federal help immediately to ease their credit pressure.

Banks want it right now but the Harper government has to reconcile calls for immediate assistance with its insistence the Canadian banking system requires no extraordinary measures.

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Canadian banks ranked soundest in the world – Maybe Harper is right and the fundementals are sound?


U.S. has fallen to No. 40 in World Economic Forum list:

Canada has the world’s soundest banking system, closely followed by Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia, a survey by the World Economic Forum has found as a financial crisis and bank failures shake world markets.

Britain, which once ranked in the top five, has slipped to 44th place behind El Salvador and Peru, after its government pledged $97 billion this week to bolster bank balance sheets.

The United States, where some of Wall Street’s biggest financial names have collapsed in recent weeks, rated only 40th, just behind Germany, at 39th, and smaller states such as Barbados, Estonia and even Namibia, in southern Africa.

On Thursday, the U.S. was considering buying a slice of debt-laden banks to inject trust back into lending between financial institutions now too wary of one another to lend.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report based its findings on opinions of executives and assigned banks a score between 1.0 (insolvent and possibly requiring a government bailout) and 7.0 (healthy, with sound balance sheets).

Canadian banks received a score of 6.8, just ahead of Sweden (6.7), Luxembourg (6.7), Australia (6.7) and Denmark (6.7).

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